Blogging on The Brightside

"I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." -The Little Engine That Could

“Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.”

-Michelangelo

Now that’s what I call a prayer.  And isn’t it remarkable that rather than standing back and taking in the awe of his masterpieces, he bowed his head and prayed for an insatiable appetite for achievement, unwavering drive, and unending ambition?  Imagine a world in which a few more of us were that bold.  I’m inspired to postpone my satisfaction this week, are you?

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A student’s (beefed up) prayer

With my first preliminary exam on Friday, I found myself meditating with this prayer, but beefed up to the version written below.  

Thank you for this challenge and opportunity to show what I have learned.  Let my mind be still, secure in my knowledge and preparation, and free from the pressure I feel.  Let me be comforted by how hard I have worked to ready myself for this day.  Let me embrace the chance to be successful and expose my talents.  And when I put my worries aside, let me think clearly and creatively. Let me work accurately and insightfully. Let my explanations be exact and thorough. Let me go confidently and leave satisfied, knowing that I was brave and did my best.

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“Don’t worry about nothing. Pray about everything.”

Luke Bryan, Philippians 4:6

For student’s during finals.

For those really important things that we might not get right.

When we are worried, but we shouldn’t be.

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“I won’t worry my life away.”

Jason Mraz, The Remedy

I’m often guilty of worrying too much.  The problem is that I like things to be just right, and I like to be in control.  The fact of the matter is things are not always just right, and most things are not in my control.  I need too work harder at not worrying about those things that I can’t control, and I bet many of you could use the same practice.

Here’s my little exercise for you.  Try to think back a year.  Do you remember what you were worried about?  Besides your hair style or outfit choice, what were the really big concerns?  Are you still worried about it?  Was it helpful to worry the way you did, or did you spend too much energy worrying?  Would things have been different if you didn’t worry so much?

If we’re not careful, we can let ourselves worry our lives away.  When we have legitimate concerns, we need to reach out to our friends and families, our colleagues and bosses, and each other to find reassurance.  When we have small concerns, we needn’t worry so much that we forget to be outstanding.  Never let those worries dull your brilliance.

Indeed, this prayer was written by Reinhold Niebuhr for worriers like us:

  • grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change,
  • courage to change the things i can, 
  • and the wisdom to know the difference.
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“Please, dear God, don’t let me f*** up.”

Alan Shepard

We are all familiar with the famous quote by astronaut Neil Armstrong about a small step for man and a leap for mankind.  The eloquence with which Armstrong described the wonder and grace of his moon landing is beautifully juxtaposed by this concise prayer, uttered by Shepard before launch.

Sometimes we get through our trials with grace.  Sometimes it’s enough to get through without f…well…it’s enough to get through.

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a student’s prayer

Thank you for this challenge. Let me think clearly and creatively. Let me work accurately and insightfully. Let my explanations be exact and thorough. Let me go confidently and leave satisfied.

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